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‘Here, There and Everywhere’ by Geoff Emerick (with Howard Massey)
This is the best book I have ever read, in my whole life. I have enjoyed reading it so much. I do not say this lightly. It is a book that I could hardly put down and I was genuinely sad to finish reading it. At first, I was so dismayed that Emerick had delegated the writing of his story to Massey, who is either American or Canadian, because everything is phrased in American English. So many ‘gottens’, ‘favorites’ and other American English spellings and words. I generally do have a problem with this, but I can honestly say that the content of the book meant that the ‘Americanisms’ were insignificant and Emerick’s story was so interesting that I got used to Massey’s transcription.
The magical story of the rise of The Beatles is detailed, through Emerick’s experience as a young engineer who just happened, through an amazing hand of fate, to be present at both The Beatles’ first and last recording sessions. He was witness to legendary recording sessions and his description of how The Beatles changed, between recording each of their albums at Abbey Road is truly revealing. Geoff Emerick was a twenty year-old, on a wage of just a few pounds per week and engineering the sounds of the most famous group in the world, helping to shape their recorded output. He had become highly regarded by the whole group and was considered essential by them, by the end of the ‘Revolver’ sessions, due to his ability to give The Beatles exactly what they wanted, sonically. Reading about how George Harrison always had problems ‘nailing’ his guitar solos and how Paul would often step in and play the solo in one take, how Ringo was always guarded and under-confident and how John could be really caring and sincere, one minute, and spitting unnecessary venom the next, are a revelation. Some of the rows, particularly between Paul and George are specifically detailed and the reader is given a rare insight into the ‘inner sanctum’ of The Beatles. I particularly enjoy reading about individual recording sessions and how The Beatles actually set-up to record.
One story is that Paul’s ego prevented him from giving John a stab at singing the lead vocal of ‘Oh Darling’, despite the fact that the song was more suited to his voice. John was standing by in the studio, apparently ready, willing and able to sing. John admitted, years later, that he would have loved to have sung that lead. I was astounded by that. One thing that Emerick makes clear is that Paul emerged as the leader of The Beatles after the band stopped touring. He was the ipso facto producer, constantly undermining George Martin, whose role as ‘producer’ carried less weight as The Beatles just did what they wanted and took less notice of him, after the ‘Sergeant Pepper’ sessions, where he was of key importance to the production. Emerick also tells us how archaic, dull and backward-looking the EMI management were. There was great deal of ‘red tape’ and it wasn’t easy working for an organisation that treated its employees with so little trust and respect. However, we learn how The Beatles helped to break down the barriers that stood between the ‘stuffy’, but highly professional orchestral musicians who were used to playing Western Art Music and ‘Pop’ musicians who were beginning to stretch their repertoire. John Lennon, in particular, was not seeking to embarrass the orchestral musicians that he asked to wear party hats and rubber noses for the recording of ‘A Day In The Life’, he was actually trying to tear down those barriers that had existed for years.
So many great sessions, so many wonderful tales about the greatest group in the world and how this young man played such a pivotal role in their recordings make this book an essential read for Beatles Fans and anyone interested in the recording industry or ‘Pop’ music, generally. This book is also a very good insight into the reasons for the break-up of The Beatles. Will there ever be another